Zawahiri loses it in two places

Austin Bay:

Al-Qaida's Ayman al-Zawahiri's pre-Christmas rants backfired in both Palestine and in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Zawahiri -- Al-Qaida's terror emir No. 2 -- ordered the Palestinians to wage his globalist brand of jihad. In the midst of their own vicious civil war, Hamas and Fatah quickly told Zawahiri to butt out.

Zawahiri's history lesson for Washington Democrats elicited yawns. Zawahiri argued that the "the Muslim ... vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq ... won (the U.S. election), and the American forces and their crusader allies are the ones who lost ..."

Cave life in Pakistan evidently limits the al-Qaida firebrand's ability to affect current events. It isn't simply a feat to simultaneously flop in the Beltway and Gaza Strip -- it's a defeat.

Zawahiri's December case of tin ear is small encouragement, however, for his insistent message remains an enormous menace. At the end of 2006, al-Qaida is a shattered organization, but not yet a shattered idea.

The ideology al-Qaida and its "affiliated cadres" empowers a still potent enemy. Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh provided a domestic American example of the horror a handful of driven, delusional and violent men can wreak. McVeigh, however, was truly isolated.

Al-Qaida's dark genius -- or, more accurately, the dark genius of the Egyptian strain of internationalist jihadism -- has been to connect the Muslim world's angry, humiliated and isolated young men with a utopian fantasy preaching the virtue of violence. That utopian fantasy seeks to explain and then redress roughly 800 years of Muslim decline. The rage energizing al-Qaeda's ideological cadres certainly predates the post-Desert Storm presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia.

...
Bay goes on to give a positive review of Lawrence Wright's new book, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. It also focuses on Zawahiri's mentor fellow Egyptian, Sayid Qutb. Our mission now is to destroy their fantasy. The fantasy is based on the illusion that the west is responsible for the decline of the Muslim world. The reality is that Muslim culture is responsible for the decline of the Islamic world and the prescription of the al Qaeda and its followers is to ratchet up Islamic failure.

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